Day 10: Something I feel strongly about

Sex & Population. These two go together for me. Every unprotected act of coitus between a heterosexual couple, with no morning pill after to wipe away what may have been a big mistake gives me great concern. Sex is a serious thing, especially when it is the only thing Nigeria is good at.

Why, you might ask?

Because Nigeria is on course to be the world’s 3rd largest country after India and China, not by GDP, GNP, purchasing power, ease of doing business, corruption index, ease of paying taxes, access to education, global competitiveness index or any other reputable index or metric you can possibly think of.

No. Nigeria, by 2050, will be the world’s third largest country with a population of 411 million, half a billion, surpassing USA, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Brazil, in that order.

Because sex is the reason we’re going to take the world by storm in a few decades, it gives me great cause for concern. I feel strongly about it. Not because of its pleasure. But because of its consequences. Nigeria is sitting on a ticking bomb.

Forget Boko Haram, Niger Delta militancy, corrupt politicians, I used to worry my poor head about these things, pitying the Nigerian state, until the scales fell off my eyes. Our population is not a blessing, people. It’s a curse greater than the oil we’ve never made good use of. Unless Jesus comes before 2050, we’re gonna have a big problem on our hands.

Why is our population such an issue, you’re probably wondering? Because of land, my people, land; we simply do not have enough land to cater for the needs of over 400 million people.

Nigeria has a landmass of 923,768 km2 with a population of 186 million as at 2016. It is the 32nd largest country in the world, roughly the size of the State of California, USA with a population of 39.5 million as at 2017. The USA has a landmass of 9.8 million km2 with a population of 325 million as at 2017. You could carve out 10 Nigeria’s from the USA and still have space for Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Maine, South Carolina, West Virginia, Maryland, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island, with a combined population of 52 million roughly.

Ladies and Gentlemen, at our rate of reproduction and population growth, we are attempting to get 11 people to squeeze themselves in a cushion meant for one person. Its simply absurd. We need to wake up, people, while there is still time.

As at independence, we had a population of 50 million and a forest cover of 30%, which was above the recommended forest cover of 20% for any country. Today, our population has increased by a factor of 6 while our forest cover has also dwindled by a factor of 6 to 5%. I fear what will become of our remaining forests when our population hits 300 million.

If you’re a climate change or global warming activist, you cannot separate your struggle for climate preservation from population studies. Remember that the Sambisa Forest, stronghold for Boko Haram today, decades past, was a game reserve, teeming with life. As population grew, pressure on it increased and until it became a shadow of itself, today’s nest for terrorism. You cannot separate poor population management from crime and societal breakdown. If you are a societal affairs commentator or analyst, please raise your voice and hands in support of safe sex, family planning and most importantly, birth control.

I’ll repeat it again, we simply do not have enough land to cater for the needs of all our people. We currently have a 23% unemployment rate. We need to create 500,000 jobs every year to clear this deficit in the next 20 years, based on the impossible assumption that our population will not exceed 200 million. I’ll leave you to imagine the consequences of having 25% of our future 500 million population -125 million, unemployed.

We need 17 million housing units to service our current housing deficit. We must build 700,000 houses per year, which we aren’t. 500 million people will need a place to rest their heads, they will larger roads for the increased number of vehicles, they will need more schools, more hospitals, more workplaces, more water, more electricity, more of everything, even churches, mosques and shrines. Unfortunately, to provide all these, the question of land comes to mind. We simply do not have enough to land to go around. We are in trouble.

You know what hurts me more? The last generation that could have done something to prevent this was our parents, but they didn’t. In fact, they will be long dead before the cock comes home to roost. This is our problem – the millennials and Generation Z.

What are the possible options for us?

One, we might decide to annex less populated African nations and ‘offload’ our ‘excess population’ on them. There’s a problem with this however. We’re not the only African nation with a libido control problem. It’s one of things that unite us as Africans. Every African nation, except Niger Republic will see its population increase by a factor of 10. Niger Republic’s population will increase by a factor of 20. Population growth is an African problem.

Second, we might just move massively to the USA, Europe and Asia. But that depends on if Presidents like Trump aren’t in power.

But my option is the most bitter of all, but it is inevitable.

We should take birth control and family planning very seriously. Polygamy should be criminalised. I know this will sound offensive to most Muslim faithful and traditionalists. Yes, it infringes on religious rights, but no religious right can be exercised outside of the confines of the state, as such, faith must bow to the state. The practise of having up to 4 wives at a time, with an average of 4 children from each, is not economically sustainable. We should implement limits on child births. The maximum should be 3 children per monogamous couple.

I know these recommendations sound preposterous. No ‘sane’ government today would dare touch these things. It’s a shame. Either way, I hope that this message will spread. I hope those who read this will leave with greater curiosity and develop new ideas on how to manage our population. I hope that when next you have sex, you’ll make sure you have a condom or morning pill handy. Its not worth it bringing a child into the world, that neither you nor Nigeria is ready for.

I hope that when you get married, you will not let society pressure you into taking another wife or husband, like many of our parents. Society has a bad attitude of always turning up for naming ceremonies but turning its back when it’s time to pay the school fees.

I hope that your spouse always satisfies you, so you never feel tempted by the grass on the other side. I hope that you have the strength to keep your libido in check, and where you can’t, never leave home without protection. Whatever happens on Allen Avenue should stay on Allen Avenue.

The decisions we avoid today, we will meet in our future, in most cases, worse than their original form. Sooner or later, we will discuss our population on national TV. I only hope we have the leadership, when the time comes, bold enough to take the hard decisions. God Bless Nigeria.

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Analyst/Emerging Tech Lead, Tech Hive Advisory | AI Ethics & Governance Researcher

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Akin Ifeanyi Agunbiade

Akin Ifeanyi Agunbiade

Analyst/Emerging Tech Lead, Tech Hive Advisory | AI Ethics & Governance Researcher

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